Over the past year and a half, I’ve learned that it’s the little things in your recipes that will make the difference in healthy vs. hearty. I’ve made subtle changes in my ingredients that my husband hasn’t even noticed. I have even made foods for my dad who is the ultimate food critic and he didn’t notice anything either (thank goodness!) So I thought today I would share with you some healthy food alternatives for the heart food ingredients you are used to.
1. Substitute Coconut Oil For Butter
You may have heard of this little trick but maybe you haven’t used it. Well it’s time to start! It is so much healthier (more omega-3 fatty acids) and if you buy the natural/organic stuff, it’s even better for you. Some people cringe when they see the organic coconut oil in the store (at my local grocery store it runs about $6.50 for a glass jar of coconut oil) but it lasts. You don’t need to use much, and it will last much longer than the butter or margarine that you would usually use.
Foods that I usually substitute coconut oil in for butter include cooked rice, baked chicken, frying eggs (on the pan), cooked veggies, stir-fry, really anything that requires butter in the bottom of your pan, you can use coconut oil.
2. Use Stevia Instead of Sugar
I found this out earlier this spring when my personal trainer told me to eat grapefruits for breakfast with a pack of Stevia instead of sugar. But you can also do this in your coffee, your homemade drinks (iced tea, juice, etc.) or even just to sweeten a dish with a pinch of sugar.
3. Substitute Apple Sauce For Vegetable Oil
When you are baking from a box (oh come on, we have all done it, don’t give me that look) it sometimes calls for a cup of vegetable oil. Fattening!! Instead, use a cup of apple sauce. It will provide the same results (a little bit different flavor, but probably only because you know what you did there) and is WAY healthier for you.
4. Use Real Meat Instead of Processed
Yes, we are all usually in a hurry and want to cook meals as fast as possible. But that doesn’t give us any excuse when it comes to grocery shopping. And it may take a little longer to cook foods that aren’t already pre-cooked, but the taste and healthiness is worth it. So next time, instead of purchasing the already-made sausage patties from the store, try going to the meat market and buy your own sausage. Make your own patties. Processed meats (and foods in general) are terrible for you, and your gut.
5. Make Quinoa Instead of White Rice
White rice is a carb that we’re all familiar with. It’s not completely unhealthy, but it could be better. Swap rice with quinoa instead and be prepared to notice a difference. If you’re not familiar with quinoa, it’s a lot like cous cous, in that it’s small little balls, and you cook it much like cous cous or rice as well. But quinoa instead is packed with protein and healthy omega-3’s. It’s an awesome alternative for adding a carb to your meals. Quinoa by itself is a little bland, we usually mix in a little coconut oil and some spices like oregano or basil. It takes a little getting used to but it’s a great trade-off.
Hopefully these healthy food substitutions will help you and your family get healthy this fall. Make small changes to every meal and it’s even possible to ‘sneak’ healthy into their daily meals. Now that’s something we can all wish for, right? 🙂